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Making Movies at the Museum

calendar2nd February, 2023 by Torquay Museum

This January, the Museum played host to its first film drama production - a vampire series called Immortium created by local filmmakers, writer/director Luke King Abbott and assistant director Ryan Noir. 

The Museum is no stranger to film crews but these are usually from TV companies making historical documentaries. Last year we were visited by BBC2 making Agatha Christie: Lucy Worsley on the Mystery Queen and Chanel 4’s production Alan Carr’s Adventures with Agatha Christie.
Over the years, we have appeared in many documentaries especially on prehistory and have provided information to production designers for the Hollywood film, Lost City of Z, but until now, we have not been the setting for a production.   

Immortium is the creation of King-Collins Productions, an independent film company founded by Luke King Abbott and Jason Collins. It tells the story of an ancient vampire, La Croix, played by Collins, who does the unthinkable: he falls in love with a human. When they have a daughter together, it is half-vampire, half-human: an Immortium, Estella, played by Caitlin Bussell. The tyrannical Emperor of the Vampires punishes La Croix by taking the Immortium, killing his wife and locking him in a coffin for fifteen years. When an unwitting teenager frees him, he has one goal in mind: find his daughter. However, he has manipulative allies, dangerous enemies and even scarier faces from his past to contend with first...

The staff at the Museum loved the idea of hosting this production, which is part of a nationwide boom in independent film making especially in the horror genre. The Museum is an ideal place to film. It can be closed to visitors, the lighting can be controlled and parts of the displays make perfect sets. The Old Devon Farmhouse gallery appealed to the filmmakers as a set for La Croix’s coffin, but they still needed a lot of extras! 

Some of these extras were supplied by the production, but the Museum needed to be populated for the shoot, so we put out a call for extras on our social media and had plenty of interest. Local people from the ages of 4 to 80 turned out to help the production, creating the illusion of a busy Museum. Even the Museum staff and volunteers got involved and the afternoon’s shooting had a real sense of the local community coming together.  

Stills photographer Mike Alsford captured the extras and sense of fun and excitement in making a film. However, it requires long hours and lots of planning and preparation from timing the shots to coincide with the failing light to just feeding the cast and crew.

The filmmakers are not sure yet where the series will be available to view or when it will be released, but the Museum was really pleased to be part of the experience. We are always interested in using the galleries in new ways and engaging different audiences. Follow our social media for more news on the fate of Immortium.        

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